Your Freelance Writing Client is Not Obligated to Please You

Updated on: by Miranda Grimm

Tips for freelance writers looking to grow their business.Should your client offer certain perks? Are there certain things you should expect them to do besides pay you?

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When freelancing, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out the roles played by you and your clients. Is the client asking for too much — or are you the one demanding the impossible? In freelance writing, the number one rule is that the client is not obligated to please you. In fact, you should instead be providing what the client needs. If you can’t or won’t, let them find it elsewhere.

Here’s why.

The client’s venue is not yours

Whether you are writing for a print magazine or a website, remember that you do not own it. While your name may be on the article, the client hired you to gear the article toward their venue. Some clients may be more flexible on topics. But if it comes down to choosing your idea over the client’s, unless their idea is harmful, always go with what the client wants. It’s their venue. You are a freelance writer, not a partial owner of the client’s company.

Your client may have a different vision than you

Just because you think things should go one way does not mean they have to listen. Everyone has their own way of doing things and the client has the right to run their venue as they see fit. The client does not need to please you. But they do need to please their audience and they may have their own wants and needs outside of that. Sometimes a freelance writer has to bend their ideas to fit what the client wants. If you think an idea will make you look bad, then pass the work onto a more suited writer. Don’t get mad at the client.

Respecting a client’s wishes can lead to good reviews

Those who get good services often recommend freelance writers to their colleagues and friends. What will your clients have to say about you? Don’t waste time arguing with your client about his needs, rather than providing the service you agreed to provide. Would you hire a plumber who would fix your working sink rather than your leaky toilet? Freelance writing is the same. Clients may have an exact request. If a client wants to pay you for a specific topic, don’t bait and switch them with another. Passing a gig onto another writer is always better than insulting a client’s ideas or trying to twist them to fit you better. Clients are more likely trust writers who are honest about what they can and cannot do.

The client hired you, not the other way around

When you sign a contract to complete a specific project for a client, it should be what they requested. There should be no requests from you for them to do anything for you, other than pay you for your work as agreed upon. It’s fine to make suggestions. But if the client is not happy with them, then neither should you be. With some gigs, it’s easy to think that a client should make certain accommodations, especially long-term gigs where a relationship is established. But in fact, it should be the other way around. You are still the one getting paid.

If anyone is obligated, it’s you, the freelance writer

It would be nice if every client was bright-eyed and cheery and gave out extra bonuses and perks. But they are not all going to be that way, and they don’t have to be. Sometimes when clients give extra incentives or web features (for online writers), the writer can come to expect more and more from that client and future clients. But the truth is that because the freelancers are being paid for the service, it is their duty to satisfy the client. This does not mean you need to suck up. But it does mean you should give them at least what they paid for.

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Jobs from home

June 16, 2015 at 2:08 pm

This post is important on so many levels. Like you said, your client is not obligated to do anything that exceeds the limits of the contract. Real professionals know these ”secrets” and that’s what diferentiates them from the rest.

John Bell

July 16, 2015 at 8:08 pm

I’m a writer. It’s my passion I would love to find free Lance writing jobs that pay decent money but have yet to find any if you know of any and wouldn’t mind sharing a link or Web sure please email me a few. I’ll write for any one so long as it’s a pay check


August 5, 2015 at 10:54 am

My buddy had the same problem – he tried to write prompts/articles for various blogs but didn’t manage to earn a penny. Now he works at as senior writer and makes decent money (I don’t know how much exactly unfortunately). Must to say that they are one of the leaders on that niche so maybe not every writing service pays good money. Wish you all good!

Ellie Khan

July 11, 2016 at 7:55 am

Well, there are some obvious advices for you as freelancer. If you don’t know it, you have no chances to become a successful freelancer. Actually, if you not self-orginized enough, go and find regular job, dont go in freelance. Thanks!

British Assignment Writer

December 6, 2016 at 2:45 am

Teacher’s Broad way of thinking in class to show writing skills when they are not fix what students need according to their vision.


May 1, 2017 at 2:42 am

I love this blog!! The flash up the top is awesome!!